People have been asking Todd Baker just what is going on in Greenwood.
Ever since the business broke ground on an expansion, the questions have poured in about Baker’s Candies.
“As soon as we broke ground over there, instantly everybody within 20 miles, at coffee the next morning, people wanted to know what in the world was going on over there,” Baker said.
And what’s going on is the next big step for the Greenwood chocolate factory. The operation plans to more than double the existing candy store size by next summer.
Todd Baker, Owner of Baker's Candies stands on the expansion lot.
Photo credit: Michael Wunder with The Waverly News
“The expansion will be a little over 5,000 square feet when it’s done, and the new space will be entirely outlet store,” Baker said. “So we’re going to build a brand new, super-sized outlet store, essentially. When it’s completed it will be the largest candy store, we believe, in the history of Nebraska. Nebraska’s never seen anything on this scale.”
The existing outlet store will become new manufacturing space, allowing for the company to continue meeting consumer demand.
Expanding has always been in the back of his mind.
“It’s been on our radar for a while,” he said. “It’s really a response to a phenomenon that we never anticipated. You wouldn’t think that a candy store in Greenwood, Nebraska would have much of a following.”
Since the company opened three decades ago, the state has become enamored with their trademark chocolate. The candies can be found in stores across the state, distinguished by their glimmering metallic wrappers.
Eventually, heading to the outlet store became something of a journey for the brand’s fans.
“It’s become a pilgrimage for people from all over the state as the brand kind of cemented itself as Nebraska’s chocolate,” Baker said.
Last year, they counted more than 100,000 visitors to the location. That was a record, just like every year before it.
“It’s been 30 straight record years,” Baker said. “We don’t really advertise or market, so it’s just the momentum of being Nebraska’s chocolate.”
Baker said they hope to make the new store a destination location for many across the state.
“We would love to have the largest selection of candy anywhere in the area,” he said.
The business would like to bring in more candies to sell, including nostalgic candies not often seen any more in stores.
“There are infinitely more that we just don’t have the room to bring in,” he said.
Though that might sound similar to other retro candy stores, the Greenwood chocolate factory will definitely stand out.
“It’ll definitely be uniquely Baker’s Candies,” Baker said. “There’s no doubt about it, we march to our own drum.”
The expansion will also create a bigger parking lot with access from Highway 6. The new entrance will have a rustic, country façade to welcome visitors to Greenwood.
The new parking lot will also have room for tour buses, as the business would like to be able to serve larger groups.
Though tours have become a bit sparser after 9/11, Baker said he hopes the expansion will allow visitors a chance to view the production process.
Read full article published by The Waverly News here.
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